How Apple Is Making iCloud More Secure To Protect User Data, Messages

How Apple Is Making iCloud More Secure To Protect User Data, Messages

Apple is making user data stored in iCloud more secure with iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud.

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Apple is introducing three new security measures designed to keep user data stored in iCloud more secure with iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys for Apple ID, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud. Hacks, data breaches, and phishing scams are becoming more common each year, with more than 800,000 people filing complaints of cybercrime in 2021, according to a report released by the FBI. But how do these tools affect users, and will they impact their day-to-day activities when using Apple products? The answer might depend on how a person uses the company’s cloud storage solutions, but any additional cybersecurity protections for user data are welcome in 2022.

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These scams can affect the iCloud accounts and data of users, with some phishing attempts targeting their Apple ID account information. But Apple considers itself a fierce defender of privacy and routinely adds safety mechanisms to its software to protect user data. The company recently introduced the new Lockdown Mode on iOS 16, designed to defend iPhones against complex cybersecurity attacks. It’s not intended for use by everyone, with the feature designed for diplomats or executives that a cyberattack might specifically target. However, some of the latest security measures are tailored to all iCloud users.

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Apple already offers end-to-end encryption on iMessage conversations, meaning that only the message’s sender and the recipient can view it. The company is further securing these conversations with iMessage Contact Key Verification to ensure that a user is conversing with the right person. If enabled, the optional security measure will notify the sender if an unauthorized or unknown device has successfully breached the iCloud account of one of their contacts. If an attacker breaks into a contact’s iCloud account and adds the device to their account, they could eavesdrop on those conversations. According to Apple, like Lockdown Mode, this is designed for people who face serious digital threats, like journalists, human rights activists, and government members.


Encryption And Data Protection For Apple ID Accounts

Apple Data

Another feature designed for individuals at risk of a sophisticated cyberattack is the introduction of physical Security Keys. Apple has offered two-factor authentication for Apple IDs since 2015, but with Security Keys, users can opt to use a third-party hardware security key to shore up protections. The feature is designed for people who are constantly targeted by hacks and data leaks, like celebrities, journalists, and government members. The physical security key could be an NFC device that needs to be within range of an Apple device or a USB-based key that can be inserted to authenticate the sign-in. Most people likely won’t purchase a physical security key to secure their data, but the option is now available.

The most impactful iCloud security change for the average user comes with the service’s new Advanced Data Protection. Previously, 14 data categories were protected by end-to-end encryption by default. Now, that number is bumped up to 23, including iCloud Backups. The feature is opt-in, but enabling Advanced Data Protection protects user data even when it is stored in the cloud. Only the user can access the data, so a cloud data breach would reveal encrypted data that bad actors cannot decrypt. Apple’s cloud storage solutions already offered formidable protections for users, but the new security measures solidify protections even further.

More: How To Customize Apple’s New iCloud Website

Source: Apple

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